Nikon Coolpix 5000 Review
Rear "Control Panel" LCD display
The Coolpix 5000 has a status LCD (dubbed 'Control Panel') on the rear of the camera beside the viewfinder. This status LCD provides a readout of all of the major camera settings and enables camera operation and the change of various settings without the need for the main LCD monitor. This LCD panel is not backlit and is set back quite a bit from its protective cover, this left it quite dark and difficult to read in medium light levels.
* Indicates: Aperture / Shutter speed (in Program mode press the Mode button to switch between), exposure compensation, manual focus distance, sensitivity, white balance or image transfer status. [NOTE: In Program mode Aperture / Shutter speed are only displayed if the rear LCD monitor is on.
Reproduced with permission from Coolpix 5000 manual.
The Coolpix 5000's viewfinder is the typical 'optical tunnel' type with a narrow and rather distance looking view of the frame. Looking through the viewfinder you'll note the center AF bracket as well as parallax correction lines which indicate the top corner of the frame when taking shots closer than 1.5 m. Directly below the viewfinder is a dioptre adjustment lever which allow for adjustment between -2 and +1 m-1.
The lights beside the viewfinder indicate:
|Flash recommended (shake warning)|
|AF||Focus good, ready to shoot|
|AF||Focus bad, cannot auto focus|
|AF||3:2 Recording size|
As I mentioned earlier the Coolpix 5000's lens mechanism is more like the Coolpix 885 simply because it's of the extending variety. The lens elements themselves are also noticeably larger (in diameter) than the Coolpix 9xx series, but still not as large as other 5 megapixel digital cameras. And this tells in the maximum aperture of F2.8 at wide angle to F4.8 at telephoto, a slow lens by any measure.
The lens takes approximately 1.8 seconds to extend at power-up and approximately 1.6 seconds to retract. Total power-up time however is about 6 seconds (more detail can be found later in this review). I wouldn't go so far as to call the Coolpix 5000's lens mechanism noisy, but during both extension and zooming it does have a fairly high pitched mechanical motor noise.
The images below show the lens in its extended position; first without and then with the optional metal HN-E5000 lens hood.
Here's a quick comparison of the characteristics of lens systems between the current range (at the time of writing this review) of five megapixel digital cameras:
(wide - tele)
|Nikon Coolpix 5000||28 - 85 mm (3x)||F2.8 - F4.8||9 elements in 7 groups|
|Minolta DiMAGE 7||28 - 200 mm (7x)||F2.8 - F3.5||16 elements in 13 groups|
|Olympus E-20||35 - 140 mm (4x)||F2.0 - F2.4||14 elements in 11 groups|
|Sony DSC-F707||38 - 190 mm (5x)||F2.0 - F2.4||Unknown|
Battery and Charger
The 5000's battery compartment is in the camera's hand grip, the door fits flush into the base of the hand grip and is held closed by a sliding clip. Just like the 885 and 995 the 5000 takes Nikon's Lithium-Ion EN-EL1 battery (7.4 V, 650 mAh = 4.8 Wh) or non-rechargeable 2CR5 Lithium batteries. Just like the 885 and 995 an EN-EL1 battery and charger are included with the 5000. Charger shown below is the US model.
One thing to note about Nikon's battery charger is that it's not "smart" like Lithium-Ion chargers from other manufacturers. That is it does not sense the charge state of the battery and instead runs through the full charge time. Although I'm sure this does the battery no harm what it does mean is that it's difficult to 'top up' a battery which isn't fully flat.
Compact Flash Compartment
On the right side of the camera (from the back) in the hand grip you'll find the 5000's Compact Flash compartment door. The door itself is probably the least impressive part of the 5000, made from a lightweight plastic it feels flimsy and simply doesn't live up to the quality build of the rest of the camera.
Inside you'll find a Compact Flash Type I or II slot and a bright yellow sticker warning to insert Type I cards carefully (label to the front). I've already read a report on our forums of a user bending the pins inside his 5000's CF compartment through trying to insert a Type I card incorrectly.
The Coolpix 5000 is the first consumer digital camera from Nikon to officially support the IBM Microdrive (at least the newer MKII models; 512 MB or 1 GB). The 995 does have a Type I/II slot but was not officially certified to support the Microdrive.
The eject button is of the spring loaded variety (some of you may have had experience of such used in Notebook computers), press once to pop the button out, press again to eject the CF card.